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Posted on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

LSU defensive coordinator tops Michigan's Greg Mattison, others for national assistant of the year award

By Kyle Meinke

Greg Mattison was the architect of the nation's most improved defense this year.

It was not enough to earn him assistant of the year honors.

The National College Football Awards Association announced on Tuesday afternoon that LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis has won the Broyles Award, which honors the nation's top assistant coach.

Mattison, the Michigan football team's defensive coordinator, had made the group of five finalists and was considered a major contender to join former defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann as the Wolverines' only Broyles winners.

Herrmann guided the vaunted 1997 defense that led the school to its last national championship.

Mattison, ironically, also had a hand in that defense. He was a Michigan assistant from 1992-96, and established the foundation for that imposing 1997 unit, which allowed only 9.5 points per game.

That makes this year's 17.2 points allowed per game seem inflated by comparison -- but, considering what Mattison inherited, this coaching job might be his best work yet.

Thumbnail image for GREG-MATTISON.JPG

Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison led the country's ninth-ranked scoring defense this year.

The Wolverines allowed a program-worst 35.2 points per game last year, tied for 107th in the country. That's an improvement of 18 points per game and 98 spots in the rankings, and Mattison did it with largely the same players as last year's historically bad outfit.

Michigan didn't allowed 35 points in a single game this year.

Mattison set the tone for the defensive renaissance with his 4-3 scheme and emphasis on fundamentals, which formed the foundation for the country's No. 7 scoring defense and No. 18 overall defense.

The Wolverines featured the best rush defense in Big Ten play, a strength they leaned on to go 10-2 and earn a berth in the Sugar Bowl. They will play No. 11 Virginia Tech (11-2) on Jan. 3 in New Orleans.

Mattison addressed the defense's improvement during his last session with the media, which came before the regular-season finale against Ohio State.

"This defense, it’ll go down — you’ll probably remember this defense more than any other defense because of how they have bought in," he said, referring to both scheme and philosophy changes. "I’ve said it all along, these kids come out every day and every meeting to get better, and everything you talk to them about and every drill they do, they try to get better.

"They’ve done it all year, and I’m happy for them that they’re having some success because it shows that it’s worth what they’re doing.”

Mattison, originally from Madison, Wis., is in his 34th year as a college football assistant. He also spent the past three years with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.

Besides Michigan, Mattison also has coached at Florida (2005-07), Notre Dame (1997-2004), Texas A&M (1989-91), Navy (1987-88), Western Michigan (1982-86), Northwestern (1978-80), Cornell (1977) and Illinois (1976). He began his coaching career as head coach at Riverdale High School in Muscoda, Wis. in 1971.

The other finalists for the Broyles Award were Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee and Alabama linebackers/assistant head coach Sal Sunseri.

Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, whom Michigan will face in the Sugar Bowl, was among the original 29 nominees for the award.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at kylemeinke@annarbor.com and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.

Comments

TheWay

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

This is ridiculous. You have a top defense with top defensive talent? Great. Mattison took a defense and raised their national ranking by, oh, about 100 places.

Rufus

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

Boooooo.

58-44-6

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 7:08 p.m.

This years Defense DE- Craig Roh DT- Mike Martin DT- Wil Heninger DE- Ryan Van Bergen LB-- Jake Ryan MLB- Kenny Demons LB- Desmond Morgan CB- J. T. Floyd CB- Blake Countess SS- Jordan Kovacs FS- Thomas Gordon Next years defense DE- Craig Roh DT- Will Campbell DT- Quinton Washington DE- Jibreel Black LB- Jake Ryan MLB- Kenny Demons LB- Desmond Morgan CB- J. T. Floyd CB- Blake Countess SS- Jordan Kovacs FS- Thomas Gordon Only real lose is Mike Martin and slight lose in Van Bergen, otherwise everyone is back, I think they will be much better next year...

Meangoblue

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

Maybe he can win a HEISMAN instead!!!!

missionbrazil

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

Congrats to Coach Mattison for a great job this year. Most of us were thinking that an improvement from 108th to the 50's would be good for this year, and our D finished tied for 7th ... a fantastic job. Coach Mattison should have won this award. I know LSU had a great D, but I agree with others that Coach Mattison did far more with less. More food for thought ... LSU was only the # 2 scoring D in the nation (10.5 PPG) ; Bama was # 1 (8.8 PPG) ... why not give it to the Bama coach, if they aren't going to give it to Coach Mattison ?

TheWay

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

Alabama replaced 10 defensive starters, too, so your last point there is a pretty good one.

58-44-6

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Next years defense DE- Craig Roh DT- Will Campbell DT- Quinton Washington DE- Jibreel Black LB- Jake Ryan MLB- Kenny Demons LB- Desmond Morgan CB- J. T. Floyd CB- Blake Countess SS- Jordan Kovacs FS- Thomas Gordon Next years offense QB- Shoelace FB- Stephen Hopkins RB Fitzgerald Toussaint WR- Darryl Stonum WR- Roy Roundtree TE- Brendan Moore OT- Taylor Lewan OT- Michael Scofield OG- Patrick Omameh OG- Ricky Barnum C- Rocky Khoury Sept. 1 vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)- L Sept. 8 AIR FORCE- W Sept. 15 MASSACHUSETTS- W Sept. 22 at Notre Dame- W Sept. 29 Bye Week Oct. 6 at Purdue*- W Oct. 13 ILLINOIS* (HC)- W Oct. 20 MICHIGAN STATE*- W Oct. 27 at Nebraska*- W Nov. 3 at Minnesota*- W Nov. 10 NORTHWESTERN*- W Nov. 17 IOWA*- W Nov. 24 at Ohio State*- W Dec. 1 Big Ten Championship Game ( Ohio)- W 13-1 baby!!

tulsatom

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Kyle Meinke wrote: 'Herrmann guided the vaunted 1997 (U-M) defense that led the school to its last national championship'. Although Mattison did a great job this year with improving the U-M defense, the assistant coach of the year award traditionally goes to an assistant whose team is in the BCS championship hunt. This is not a personal slight against Mattison -- it's just how the system works. .

eldegee

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

If not for his Defense backsliding in the last game against Ohio, Mattison probably ends up winning the award. They made Braxton Miller look like an All-American, sad to say. I'm sure that was still fresh in the minds of the Broyles Award committee members. He'll win it NEXT year, though!

TheWay

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

Since when has Michigan ever played well against a mobile QB at OSU?

Hailmary

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

Both of these men did an oustanding job. I'm sure that award could have gone either way and LSU did have an oustanding defense probably one of the best all time and that defense excelled in every game. There is always next year on the table and if Mich. defense plays solid against Alabama who knows Greg could win it. I think the LSU guy probably won it do to the quality of the opponents they faced this year such as Alabama.

umgoblue47

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 3:11 a.m.

somebody must have spiked the ncfaa's egg-nog! you took a defense that was almost at the bottom of the pile and in one season brought them almost to the top of the pile. just think what next year's defense is going to look like. in my book you are the winner hands down!! GREAT JOB!! and GO BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

daljerin

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

Probably the same reason two SEC teams are in the championship game. Everyone is in love with the SEC.

1st Down

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:47 a.m.

Wow Mattison got screwed out of this award. Chavis has tons of NFL talent on his D. Mattison did the best job of any assistant coach in CFB this year. Sad voting.

Mick

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 12:21 a.m.

Give me a break, how did Mattison not win this award, who are these people that vote on this. Chavis has a loaded squad, can you imagine Mattison with that type of talent? The kinda talent he will soon have in the next couple of years. Mr. Mattison, you are the winner to me sir!

81wolverine

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 12:14 a.m.

No disrespect intended for the winner of the award, but LSU had a heck of a lot more talent to work with on defense than Michigan did. In terms of getting more with less, Mattison had no peers in college football this year. But not winning the award does not diminish in the least his accomplishments. Thank you Coach Mattison for the fantastic job you did this year with Michigan's D. We're looking forward to the Sugar Bowl and next year!

Huron 74

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 11:12 p.m.

Award or no award, I'm certain the on-field results have made Mr Mattison the #1 defensive coach in the eyes of all Michigan fans around the globe. What an incredible, unbelieveable turnaround!

mun

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

Chavis may have the hardware, but I still think Mattison did the best job this year as DC.

Keith

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

Hoke, Mattison & Borges has won the hearts of team 132, the Community & National Fan Base. I do not think a trophy will be required this year. This one goes in the History Books. Good Job Team & Go Blue!

MRunner73

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

Greg Mattison can be proud. I am proud of the accomplishments Coach Mattison had with the defensive unit. To be honest, the LSU DC is more deserving. Aside from the "most improved" perspective by Coach Mattison's squad, a smothering defense by LSU all season is hard to argue. At the rate Coach M is going, his defensive unit will be near the top sooner versus later.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

Great job by Mattison. Perfect, by NO means, as 17.2 per game just isn't where anyone wants to be. But this is a start, and he has established a foundation, for improvement for next season. So now, it time to focus on the Hokies.....What the heck, Let's aim for a shutout......

Haran Rashes

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

Coach Mattison is, hand down, the Assistant Coach of the Year in the eyes of every Wolverine Fan. (No "offense" intended to Coach Borges.)

a2roots

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

Hard to imagine anyone more deserving of this award than Mattison. Great job coach.

chiro19

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

Now remember all Michigan fans. Dont act like Little Brother and start complaining and screaming about every thing! Do I think Mattison should have won it? Yes unfortunately he did not but next year is another year and he will be up there again! Great job on the defense, I am very glad to not see any stuffed animals on the sideline like Greg Robinson's defense. A great way to shut people up, (msu fans are you listening) is destroy Vtech! That means msu if you want people to respect you then beat Georgia! Dont lose by 40!!! Go Blue!!!

rightmind250

Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Chiro, What was that Miss state score last year? that's Miss state, not Alabama or LSU or anybody halfway good. You are talking lower tier sec school. Oh yeah, 52-14.

Doug

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

I'm so glad we didn't get Georgia!

tony

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

"Besides Michigan, Mattison also has coached at Texas A&M (1989-91), Navy (1987-88), Western Michigan (1982-86), Northwestern (1978-80), Cornell (1977) and Illinois (1976). He began his coaching career as head coach at Riverdale High School in Muscoda, Wis. in 1971." Uhhh.....you kind of left out Notre Dame and Florida prior to going to the Ravens.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

tony, both forida and ND, WERE mentioned, in the article.....

Jaysham

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Great job Coach Greg Mattison and thank you for coming back to coach defense at Michigan. Interesting info for everyone who said that we played a weak schedule and all that other crap that has been said. Michigan is the only program this year that has played 10 teams that are going to bowl games. So sparty maybe that will shut your mouth up for once.

missionbrazil

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 2 p.m.

Minnesota also gave USC a tough game this year.

Jaysham

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

The only two teams that Michigan played this year that are not going to bowl games are Eastern Michigan and Minnesota. Eastern Michigan finished with a 6-6 record but are not going to a bowl game so as a matter of fact the only team that Michigan played this year that had a losing record was Minnesota who gave MSU all they could handle.

NC Wolverine 20

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

Really? "Michigan is the only program this year that has played 10 teams that are going to bowl games." Very Cool. How do we know this?

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.

10 bowl teams...thanks for bringing that forward!

EyeHeartA2

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

"Mattison set the tone for the defensive renaissance with his 4-3 scheme and emphasis on fundamentals" Tackling on defense? Now there's a concept 3 years overdue.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

EyeHeartA2.... Actually, tackling on defense, is a concept that is 9 years overdue~!